H1N1 uncertainty causes school to close, open and close again

SHELBY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The number of Texans with H1N1 flu is climbing, but cases remain mild. There are now 61 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in Texas. They're found in sixteen out of 254 Texas counties. That's according to the Texas State Health Services latest figures. So far no Deep East Texas counties are on the list.

One of the main reasons why Excelsior Independent School District in Shelby County felt good about reopening Tuesday after being off on Monday. It closed when one pre k student was diagnosed with Type A flu. Excelsior School District doesn't know if it's H1N1 yet, but state health officials say there's a slim chance tests will come back positive. Just as soon as the school reopened, it was announced it will be closing again. "We had 46 out of 125 students missing this morning which is about 37%," shared Johnny Lewis, superintendent for Excelsior ISD. There are hardly enough students left to hold class in this very small district, so the plan is to close through Monday unless the state says otherwise. "The parents said basically, spoken in their way, that they're going to be cautious until they know the facts," said Lewis. Excelsior schools have been told by the Texas Education Agency it won't be penalized for low attendance.

Keli Chandler is a teacher and parent of a pre k student. Both were in class today, probably the cleanest place around. "You can get anything going to Wal Mart and the grocery store, so I haven't been real concerned. You just got to be smart about it," said Chandler. "We use Germ X, Lysol and continue to do that. We do it anyway," said Roni Goodwin, a pre-k teacher.

The superintendent, teachers, and even some students say they feel safe about coming to school, but they'll certainly enjoy the next three days off. Students responded with their plans. "Probably ride my horse," said one young girl. "I'm going to go fishing," said a young boy. "Ride my 4-wheeler," commented another 7th grader. Teachers are telling their students to be prepared Monday morning. There will be a lot of catching up to do on school work.